|Sun 12th April||Common Worship Communion||11.00am|
|Sun 19th April||Morning Worship||11.00am|
|Sun 26th April||Common Worship Communion||11.00am|
|Sun 3rd May||Common Worship Communion||11.00am|
* Children's Church is always available at the 11.00am service.
As we arrive at the end of the period of Lent and work towards Easter Day we have Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on a donkey - not in a kingly limousine or a royal helicopter - but on a donkey. (A donkey with her colt Matthew tells us in his gospel.) Yet even with this humble entrance Jesus receives a royal welcome from the crowds lining the road to greet him. People spread their cloaks and branches on the road before Jesus and others wave branches while they cheer and shout "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". We celebrate this day every year, the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem; we celebrate on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter Day.
Next in our church calendar comes what we call 'Holy Week'. Not that there seems to be much holy about it as we remember the betrayal, arrest, torture and trial of Jesus. So much hate, so much anger, so much injustice. Betrayed and deserted by his best friends Jesus is killed, crucified, nailed to a cross along side two criminals, and as they hung there in pain, one of the other two men mocked Jesus and challenged him saying "If you are the King of the Jews, the Messiah, then prove it by saving yourself and us too." I still hear this challenge from time to time today; people still ask why God did not rescue His Son off the cross.
Many years ago the well known evangelist Billy Graham, wrote '....it wasn't the nails that held Jesus to the cross. It was love. His love for you and me.'
After the hardship of our Lenten journey and the anguish of the events of Holy week, the intense eruption of light, life and sheer joy is irresistible on Easter morning as we celebrate that in the risen Christ, death has lost its power and finality. In his book 'Resurrection', Rowan Williams reminds us of something we often gloss over - the strangeness of the resurrection through the eyes of those who first encountered the risen Christ on that Easter morning, his friends and disciples, those who had known Jesus well. These followers were startled into seeing Christ afresh and getting to know him in a different way, and if we will allow him to, Christ will continue to challenge our own limited expecta-tions too in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Alleluia! Christ is risen.
Mary Haywood, Lay Minister